Gaffer: Portsmouth can reach the League One play-offs this season, stranger things have happened

Gaffer For A Day, David Fawcett, aged 57 from Titchfield Common, delivers his verdict on Pompey’s 4-0 success over Doncaster...

Sunday, 13th February 2022, 5:30 pm
Blackburn loanee Hayden Carter was the choice of Gaffer For A Day, David Fawcett, as Pompey's man of the match against Doncaster. Picture: Joe Pepler
Blackburn loanee Hayden Carter was the choice of Gaffer For A Day, David Fawcett, as Pompey's man of the match against Doncaster. Picture: Joe Pepler

I’m sensing optimism from you, David. So here goes – the play-offs?

Stranger things have happened! I certainly think we have an outside chance of the play-offs.

You need to get 4-5 wins in a row to keep pushing, while people always seem to overlook that your rivals will lose matches during that period.

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I remember in 2016-17 watching a Pompey defeat on television and my son wanting to sack Paul Cook. We won the League Two title two-and-a-half months later!

I am very optimistic about stuff in general, I’m never one of those trying to get managers out, desperate to chop and change, for me you’ve got to trust the process.

If we can sort that forward line out then things will be looking good. I wouldn’t consider putting money on us getting there – but stranger things have happened.

Ask me in three games, though!

A tale of two halves?

The first half we huffed and puffed and didn’t do anything, with Doncaster looking more likely to score than us.

I thought we would blitz them in the opening 15 minutes, but there was nothing. Reeco Hackett’s opener on 56 minutes changed everything, although I think 4-0 ultimately flattered us.

In the second half we tried to deliver more crosses, there was a greater urgency about us, Louis Thompson came into it more and Ryan Tunnicliffe played really well from the bench.

In fact, I’d like to see Tunnicliffe and Joe Morrell matched in the centre of midfield when both are available. Morrell is a different class and Tunnicliffe has something about him – both would easily get into any League One team.

Which players stood out for you?

Hayden Carter was my man of the match, he’s one of the better signings we’ve made in the last year, such a composed player on the ball and definitely Championship level.

Carter seems to have that extra few seconds on the ball, whereas sometimes our defenders can be rabbits in headlights. He’s such a good talent.

Not that the defence is a problem for us. I believe this is a promotion-winning defence, and I include Gavin Bazunu in that as well.

While in the Fratton End, I’ve actually heard Clark Robertson getting a bit of stick, but I think he’s classy too, and had another good game on Saturday.

You’ve given Tyler Walker a low mark, what are your thoughts?

I really like our management team, definitely stick with them, they need 2-3 years to prove themselves. We have a really good team - apart from our attack.

Walker has been anonymous, which is especially disappointing because Cowley was so chuffed when he got him. He’s a hard worker and seems likeable, but looks out of his depth.

As for George Hirst, he battles hard but is no upgrade on Oli Hawkins. You never think he’s going to score, although he did on Saturday!

I would put Walker on the bench at Crewe and give Aiden O’Brien a chance. I’d also partner him with Ronan Curtis and drop Hirst. We have to improve on those striking positions in the summer.

Gavin Bazunu – 6

Hayden Carter – 8

Sean Raggett – 7

Clark Robertson – 8

Marcus Harness – 5

Reeco Hackett – 6

Louis Thompson – 7

Ronan Curtis – 6

Michael Jacobs – 6

Tyler Walker – 4

George Hirst – 5

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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